Friday, June 19, 2009

Some house details

Here's a short post to share some details about the house. As I mentioned previously, this is going to be a simple, colonial-style house. Here is a couple of elevations that I scanned from the plans:


The directions ("North Elevation", etc) on the plans are accurate. Square footage is also accurate, at 3900 sq ft - yeah, I know it's pretty big. There was just several things we definitely wanted, and it just turned out that way. There will be four bedrooms (master on ground floor), and one upstairs bedroom will have a private bathroom (strictly for guests, although my kids think it's for one of them - ha!). The bedrooms are generously sized, and each one has a walk-in closet. My wife and I each have an office on the ground floor; the kitchen has a nice-size walk-in pantry. There will be a second laundry room upstairs, and also a large game/rec room (possible pool table...). Ceilings will be 9' high, both upstairs and downstairs.

We will have a nice-size three-car garage, with 10'-wide stalls, and 10' high doors - no more worry about only having 2" clearance for the darn outside mirrors (this is the case now with my wife's car in our current home), and a depth of 26'. The garage depth was chosen specifically to have enough room to accomodate a 2009 Ford F150 Lariat Crew Cab long-bed pickup truck....not that I have one now, and I can't afford it either, but hey I can dream, and be prepared, right? (Sorry brother Bill, I'm not ever gonna buy a Chevy, especially these days.) It's not currently in the bid but I'm thinking of going with attic trusses over the garage, just in case.

Kitchen will be good-sized but not mega-fancy. We have always had good luck with Kitchen-Aid appliances and chose that brand again for our new house (white appliances, NOT stainless-steel), including an induction cooktop which I can't wait to try out. There will be an island with a second sink, and the countertops will be granite (so far we've chosen a "Kashmir White" style, search for it if you want and you can easily find online pictures). Cabinets will be a traditional oak style (we like oak).

We are tired of carpet (just gets so dirty!) and are going nearly 100% with white oak hardwood throughout the house; bathrooms, entry areas, and laundry rooms will get tile.

We're going with a radiant-floor heating system, upstairs as well as downstairs (I've learned that a lot of houses will go with forced-air heating upstairs, if the budget is really tight, but this is an item I held out for). The system will be based on Warmboard which is supposed to be an efficient, fast-responding product (but darn expensive! - let's hope I still think it's worth it five years from now). The heat will come from a Unico reverse-cycle chiller (kinda like a heat pump, but does air-to-water heat exchanging, and is supposed to be far more efficient than a heat pump). The house will have eight heating zones, including one for the garage :).

We didn't have room in the budget initially for an A/C system, but I am hopeful that we can scrape up enough money to install one (a high-velocity system, powered by the reverse-cycle chiller - just need to add air-exchangers).

We're not getting everything we wanted in this house, but perfection is the enemy of good, and let's face it, I don't think we'll be suffering.

I've gotten some questions about why we chose to build now, during these tough economic times. Mainly it's because, for those who can afford it, this is a good time to build, since materials and contractors are less costly than they were (will be) in busy boom times. Paul Davies (our GC) did two rounds of requesting bids on various items, first one back in Nov-Dec timeframe, and again in Feb-March. The first bids were low, and then dropped even more the second time around. He guesstimates we're saving $60-70k on materials and labor by building right now.

Anyway, this post should help set the stage for the rest of the construction process. Any questions, feel free to email me.

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